Heart Beat: 01/08

The experimental antiplatelet drug prasugrel offered greater benefits than the more commonly used medication clopidogrel (Plavix) in acute coronary syndrome (ACS) patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), according to study results published in the Nov. 4 New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). However, Cleveland Clinic cardiologist Deepak Bhatt, MD, noted in a related NEJM article that the risk of excessive bleeding was shown to be higher among the prasugrel patients. Therefore, doctors will have to carefully consider a patients bleeding risk before prescribing prasugrel, if the drug receives Food and Drug Administration approval. Researchers enrolled more than 13,000 patients in 30 countries who were about to undergo PCI. Patients received either prasugrel or clopidogrel for up to 15 months after the intervention. Of the patients who died of cardiovascular causes or suffered heart attacks or strokes, 12.1 percent were on clopidogrel and 9.9 percent were in the prasugrel group.
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